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Debra Lamb Talks Wrestling with Disaster

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2013

Debra Lamb on (re)Search my Trash

 

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You are promoting the upcoming documentary Wrestling with Disaster - so in a few words, what is it about?

 

Wrestling with Disaster is a very intimate and personal view into the lives of pro and amateur wrestlers, what drives them and what keeps them going in the face of extreme physical, mental, and emotional adversity.

 

What got you involved with the project in the first place, and what drew you to the subject?

 

Anthony Bruno had told me about his project while we were at the Chiller Theatre convention in New Jersey to promote Celluloid Bloodbath: More Prevues from Hell last October. I knew this was going to be something special and I wholly supported him from the beginning.

 

Cory Kastle, Debra Lamb, Anthony Bruno

Please talk about Wrestling with Disaster's director/mastermind Anthony Bruno [Anthony Bruno interview - click here] for a bit, and what's your collaboration like?

 

Anthony is a very dedicated, talented, and ambitious filmmaker. He has already worked on two films, Celluloid Bloodbath: More Prevues from Hell (editor/sound editor), and the award winning short film, The Fay (sound effects editor), and he is currently working on the script for his next film following Wrestling with Disaster, which will be a romantic comedy. He is also about to graduate from the Temple University of Philadelphia where he is a film major. I had worked on Celluloid Bloodbath as well, as one of the celebrity commentators, offering witty quips about Let's Scare Jessica to Death, It's Alive, and a few others. We met at Chiller Theatre while promoting Celluloid Bloodbath last year, struck up a friendship, and the rest, as they say, is history. Anthony shared his Wrestling with Disaster idea with me and I just knew that this wasn't going to be just another wrestling documentary--this was going to be uniquely told. I was very impressed with his film knowledge and even more so with his passion, and I knew it was going to be the perfect project for his directorial debut.

 

Will you be making an appearance in front of the camera in Wrestling with Disaster - please talk about that for a bit!

 

We considered it. We were planning on having me interview a couple of women who, although not wrestlers themselves, are well known in the wrestling world. Anthony and I thought it would be interesting to get another perpective by having me interview the wives of a couple of the biggest names in wrestling. However, when Anthony asked me to join him and Cory Kastle, the dynamic duo already had such an abundance of exciting footage from all the wrestling events they've been attending, and so many poignant and heartfelt interviews, I felt I would best serve them and the film by making my contribution quietly behind the scenes.

 

Now what most people who know you from horror movies might not know: You do have an actual background in wrestling and have trained with none other than Benny "The Jet" Urquidez - now what got you into wrestling in the first place, what can you tell us about Debra Lamb the wrestler, and about training with Benny the Jet?

 

I started ballet when I was seven years old and performed with the Portland Rec's and Park Ballet Company for the next seven years, but had to leave the company when my mother moved me and my little sister to Los Angeles when I was fourteen. I took dance classes at Beverly Hills High School and then Santa Monica High School, and when I graduated, I continued to take dance at local studios. I knew I wanted to pursue an acting career and I started off, like so many, with taking modeling jobs, and pretty much anything I could get. During those early years I ended up getting a lot of dancing parts, and I met a dancer who worked at the famous Hollywood Tropicana as a mud wrestler. It sounded like fun, so I auditioned for a job as one of the wrestlers. I worked there for about five months or so before moving on, during which time I became friends with several women who worked there who were actual wrestlers--they turned me on to the wonderful world of wrestling!

 

Trashy Ladies Wrestling

Soon after I was offered the role of Justine "the dominant one" in a rompy wrestling video entitled Trashy Ladies Wrestling, which featured a variety of colorful characters. We trained for three weeks with none other than kickboxing and martial arts legend, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, at his gym in Woodland Hills. I fell in love with kickboxing and continued training at the gym for the next few months. I was also training with a group of female wrestlers who were affilated with G.L.O.W., Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. I was cast in a video in which we had non-choreographed, collegiate-style wrestling matches. I was able to win a few matches and at the end of the day it was just me and another female wrestler. I gave it my all, but she was the more skilled athlete, and she finally pinned me, winning the title. A few months later I was told by the producers that I was gaining a following and the fans loved me, and they wanted me back to do more videos!

 

What made you eventually quit wrestling, and looking back on it from today's point of view, your thoughts about that part of your career?

 

By the time I was invited back to perform in additional wrestling videos, my acting career was taking off, and I was quite busy. As much as I enjoyed wrestling, my focus was on my acting career, and I was afraid that I would become known as a wrestler rather than an actor, so I hung up my wrestling shoes. To this day, I have great admiration for wrestling and all the dedication and skill it requires. You have to keep yourself in top physical condition and remain mentally alert to avoid serious injury. I'm very fortunate that I got to do something so physical--it's something that I never imagined that I would be a part of!

 

What can you tell us about the wrestlers you worked with on Wrestling with Disaster, and has your work on the documentary in any way changed your views on wrestling?

 

Anthony has had an insane shooting schedule since January, when all this wonderful craziness began--and Cory's been by his side since very early on. I just can't say enough about this dynamic duo--I seriously don't know how they do it! Since starting to promote the movie earlier this year, I've become acquainted with many of the wrestlers and their personal stories. I feel like I've been invited into the private lives of "The Genius" Lanny Poffo, "The Pitbull" Gary Wolf, Warlord, and Kevin Sullivan, and I haven't even met them. I just know how they have welcomed Anthony and Cory with open arms, and how their stories have touched them. And of course, Cory Kastle has a dramatic story to tell as well, making a miraculous comeback after recovering from brain surgery. Also, I want to mention the kindness that Fred "Tugboat" Ottman and his wife Sheila showed Anthony and Cory during their recent trip to Florida. They opened their hearts and their home to them--such wonderful people! I can't say that working on this project has changed my view on wrestling, since I've already had my own close friendships with the female wrestlers I worked with early on in my career, but I do hope that this documentary opens the hearts and minds of many.

 

Anthony Bruno

Cory Kastle

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Is it true that you've actually recorded a song for Wrestling with Disaster - and what can you tell us about Debra Lamb, the singer?

 

I haven't actually recorded it yet, but yes, I am writing a song for the film. I've been working very closely with a very talented musician, Jonathan Smith, who came on board as an associate producer earlier this year. He and I have become very good friends, and we're collaborating on two songs together to start, but we have plans for more.

 

I've been writing poetry and song lyrics since I was a kid, and when I was nineteen I put a band together. My drummer was Matt Skerritt, son of actor Tom Skerritt. The band was short-lived, but it was a great experience and so much fun. Years later I recorded a song, "Fire and Ice", was up for a rap recording contract, and sang background vocals on my friend Millicent Sheridan's CD.

 

Though it might be waaay too early to ask, any idea when and where the movie will be released onto the general public yet?

 

I can't say yet as to when it'll be distributed, but Anthony hopes to wrap up filming by the beginning of the year and have it completed and ready to start submitting to film festivals by summer of 2014.

 

Any future projects beyond Wrestling with Disaster?

 

Anthony and I will definitely be working together again in the not so distant future. Meanwhile, I'm also working with director Joe Hollow [Joe Hollow interview - click here] on Cannibals, which is currently in pre-production. I'm working alongside our line producer, Eric Anthony Pereira, and producer, Angelina Armani. Stay tuned!

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

The Wrestling with Disaster website: http://wrestlingwithdisasterthemovie.com/

IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3161478/?ref_=nm_flmg_prd_1

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WrestlingwithDisaster

Hash tags: #wrestling

The Debra Lamb website: http://thedebralamb.com/

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Yes--I'd like to invite everyone to watch this sneak peek clip of Lanny Poffo giving a poignant account of his brother, Randy "Macho Man" Savage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWTrYxmmSnw&list=HL1383103924

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you so very much, Michael--it was my pleasure. And thank you for helping us for getting the word out!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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